By Tom Degun

Martine WrightDecember 19 - Inspirational Paralympian Martine Wright, who was badly injured in the July 7 London bombings in 2005 before going on to recover and compete at London 2012, admits she is devastated by UK Sport's decision to cut all the funding for her sport of sitting volleyball.

Wright (pictured top) became one of the stars of the 2012 Paralympics as the 40-year-old competed at the Games seven years after the terrorist attacks on the London Underground saw her lose both of her legs.

But her Rio 2016 dream looks over as UK Sport announced this week that it has cut GB sitting volleyball's grant from £800,000 ($1.3 million/€981,760) to nothing.

"My immediate reaction was devastation," said Wight, who won the Helen Rollason Award at the 2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year on Sunday (December 16) for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity.

"We have lived and breathed sitting volleyball and for someone to say all that hard work means nothing, and it's down to medals, is tough.

"It's really hard to break the cycle – how can you get the medals without the money?

"Their [UK Sport] funding of the Olympics and Paralympics overall has gone up, which is brilliant, but unfortunately – quite unbelievably for sitting volleyball – they haven't given us any money.

"We still believe in what we can do and have seen a huge improvement over the last couple of years."

martine wright 2Martine Wright was one of the stars of the London 2012 Paralympics as she represented the ParalympicsGB sitting volleyball team

Wright, who was sitting just feet away from a bomber on the London Underground, nearly died the day after London was awarded the Games.

She lost 80 per cent of the blood in her body, was in a coma for 10 days and had surgery over a 10-month period while learning to walk again with prosthetic legs, which she removes for volleyball.

Since the terror attack, she has had a baby, got married and learned to fly a plane and she believes sitting volleyball can still recover from the funding loss.

"We believe we could win a medal out there in Rio in 2016 and hopefully can find some private sponsorship," she insisted.

"Two-and-a-half years ago no-one even knew what sitting volleyball was.

"Now we've got hundreds of kids turning up to taster days.

"It is one of the unique Paralympic sports in that you don't use a wheelchair.

"As someone reliant on a wheelchair, it's quite a liberating experience to get out and play a dynamic team sport.

"All we need is a ball, a net, and our bottoms.

"We will go out and find private funding."

The British women's sitting volleyball team made their Paralympic debut at London 2012, losing all five matches but almost taking sets off Ukraine, Brazil and Japan.

But despite the blow for sitting volleyball, Paralympic sport overall in Britain received a major boost ahead of Rio as they received an overall increase to funding of 43 per cent in a move that has been welcomed by the British Paralympic Association (BPA).

"The BPA has always maintained that, for the Paralympic Movement in the UK, London should be a springboard onto greater things," said a BPA statement.

"UK Sport's increased level of investment into Paralympic sport as a whole reflects that and we are delighted that the strong performance of the ParalympicsGB team in London has acted as the catalyst."

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